Out with the old, in with the new! If you’re like us, your makeup bag is probably filled with an excess of worn-down lipsticks, cracked eye shadows and mascaras from the Stone Age. This is a great time to take stock of your what’s inside your makeup bag, get rid of the outdated products and stock up on the things you need.
How to begin? Simple. Tip everything from your makeup bag out on a table and separate out the items that are outdated or expired. Yes, makeup really does have a shelf life. Unfortunately, most makeup doesn’t have an expiration date printed on it, so use these general guidelines:
• Mascara: Throw out after 3 months. Mascara has a short shelf life because the wand picks up bacteria from the eye every time you use it. Mascara should be thrown away if you get
any eye infection.
• Eyeliners: 4 to 6 months. As with mascara, eyeliners can easily pick up bacteria so it’s best to replace every few months. Pencil eyeliners, as well as pencil lipliners however, can be used up to 3 years when sharpened regularly.
• Powders: 2 to 3 years. Because powder-based makeup doesn’t contain water, face powders, eyeshadows and powder blushes can last a long time. Again, if you have an eye infection, though, discard your eyeshadow.
• Cream-based makeup: 1 to 2 years. Cream-based makeup—like concealers, foundations and cream blush—can go bad faster than powder.
• Cream and gel cleansers: 1 year.
• Foundation: Water-based foundations will last up to 12 months; oil-based foundations will last up to 18 months.
• Lipstick: 1 to 2 years.
• Nail polish: 2 years. If your nail polish has a tacky consistency, it’s time to get rid of it.
• Brushes: Wash at least once a month. If you’ve been sick, it’s a good idea to wash your brushes once you are well.
• Sponges: Wash weekly and discard monthly.
If you don’t remember when you purchased your makeup, follow your nose. If it smells rancid or has a weird chemical odor, toss it.
Another tip: Look for the makeup expiration symbol found on some cosmetics and skin care. The symbol looks like an open cosmetics jar and has a number written in it or below it. For example, 6 M means the product should be discarded after it’s been opened for six months; 12 M means it should be discarded after it’s been opened 12 months.
Once you’ve discarded all the ancient products, arrange what’s left into groups: lips, cheeks, eyes and miscellaneous. Go through each pile and get rid of any duplicate products. For example, you probably don’t need five pink lipsticks or three black
Now you can pare down what’s left. Get rid of colors that you bought on the spur of the moment but don’t really flatter you, or trendy shades that someone convinced you to buy but you don’t really care for.
Wash your brushes. Fill a small bowl or basin with warm water and a few drops of brush cleaner. Put all your brushes in and leave them for ten minutes, then lay them out on a towel to dry.
Finally, turn your makeup bag inside out and clean it with a damp paper towel or baby wipes. Now put back your beauty essentials and you’re ready to go!
Essential items every woman should have in her makeup bag:
3. Eye pencil/crayon. Adding a quick dash of color and definition is an fast, easy way to wake up tired eyes. Stila’s Smudge Crayon works triple-time as an eye primer, shadow and liner.
5. Pressed powder or foundation. We love Paula Dorf Perfect Glow powder foundation, which comes in a portable compact with mirror and brush.
6. Blush. Give yourself a golden glow with Jane Iredale’s Moonglow, a multi-tasking quad of warm bronze and copper shades which can be used separately or together on the cheeks, eyes, lips or entire face. It’s a bronzer, blush, lip stain and eyeshadow in one.
7. Emery board.
8. Blotting papers. They’re excellent for soaking up excess oil throughout the day.